Dark Mode

Ashley Kalagian Blunt

Dark Mode
Ultimo Press
1 March 2023

Dark Mode

Ashley Kalagian Blunt

Once you're online, there's nowhere to hide. Is it paranoia – or is someone watching?

For years, Reagan Carsen has kept her life offline. No socials. No internet presence. No photos. Safe. Until the day she stumbles on a shocking murder in a Sydney laneway. The victim looks just like her. Coincidence?

As more murders shake the city and she's increasingly drawn out from hiding, Reagan is forced to confront her greatest fear. She's been found.

A riveting psychological thriller drawn from true events, Dark Mode delves into the terrifying reality of the dark web, and the price we pay for surrendering our privacy one click at a time.


Dark Mode is a skin-crawling psychological thriller that begs you to consider what exactly it takes for someone to gain your trust. Is it how long you’ve known them? Is it simply talking to them frequently, sharing memories and interests? Can we ever truly know someone? Or fully trust them?

Reagan has spent years trying to hide herself from her past; she has no social media, no internet presence, and no photos of herself. Her life is peaceful, simply running a florist shop. Until one morning when Reagan stumbles across the brutally murdered body of a woman who looks identical to her. As more murders leave the people of Sydney terrified, Reagan must turn to the past for answers – back to 1947, where the unsolved murder of the Black Dahlia is sickeningly similar to these current murders. But Reagan must also return to her own past, to the man she thought she had finally escaped, and to the place where it all began: the internet.

In a technologically advancing world, modern horror today lies not only in the people we see face-to-face, but also in the ones that hide behind the screen. Ashley Kalagian Blunt delves into the terrifying nightmare of trusting the wrong strangers (online and in real-life) and sinks you deep into the bottomless evils lurking in the dark web, specifically the extreme misogyny that runs amok. Exploring the online subculture of incels (involuntarily celibate men), Dark Mode brings to light how far and deep the hatred for women goes. In this world, committing acts of terror and violence against women knows no limits, especially when one has the safety of anonymity behind the screen.

Blunt has brilliantly executed a cautionary tale, and a deeply suspenseful thriller brimming with plot twists and a gut-sinking cliffhanger. This page-turner will keep you up long into the night.

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